Topic: Initiative 1185
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January 9, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Did Initiative 1185, the voter-approved measure that requires a two-thirds vote in the state Legislature to increase taxes, rescind tuition-setting authority that was granted by lawmakers in 2011 to Washington universities?
Initiative supporter Tim Eyman and state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, say it did. Roach has asked the Attorney General’s Office to examine tuition-setting authority in light of I-1185, which passed in November.
But University of Washington officials say the Legislature has annually delegated the authority for universities to raise tuition in the budget bill, and I-1185 won’t change that. The initiative also requires a majority vote in the Legislature to raise fees, and tuition has been interpreted as a fee by the attorney general.
In an email to the attorney general, Roach said she believes that “the voters, by giving I-1185 almost two-thirds of the vote, clearly re-established the elected Legislature to make decisions on tuition, not unelected officials at state universities.”
The Attorney General’s office has looked at this issue once before, when it responded to a question about how I-1053, a similar tax initiative, would affect increases in tuition fees.
In 2011, State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, asked if that initiative required additional legislative action before a tuition increase could go forward. The informal opinion was yes, although the attorneys wrote that the Legislature “could either enact a statute directly imposing or increasing a fee in a specified amount, or could instead delegate authority to impose or increase fees to an administrative agency.”
Margaret Shepherd, director of state relations for the UW, says the Legislature has routinely delegated the authority to impose or increase tuition to universities and colleges as part of its budget bill. Shepherd said this was true even before the Legislature gave the state’s schools tuition-setting authority. “We believe the same will be necessary and true after the passage of I-1185,” she said.
“The people, when they passed I-1053 in 2010, said they wanted fees set by the Legislature,” Eyman wrote. “The Legislature in 2011 delegated the authority. If Sen. Roach is correct (and based on the Benton informal opinion, she is), then the people in 2012 gave it back to the Legislature again.
“Think of it as a tug-of-war but the last ‘pull’ was the voters’ overwhelming approval of I-1185 last November,” he wrote.
The Attorney General’s Office is expected to give an informal opinion in a few weeks.
October 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Debate science: Former Vice President Al Gore —he, a sighing menace to his own presidential debate performance years ago against George W. Bush — had one of the more novel explanation for President Obama’s weak performance in Denver the other night — altitude. Gore who is very science-oriented offered up this doozy.
Tweet of the debate:
Big Bird, as you have heard, was unwittingly one of the stars of the presidential debate. Republican Mitt Romney said — and I paraphrase — he likes Jim Lehrer and Big Bird but wants to cut funding for public broadcasting.
Mentions of Big Bird promptly soared on social media. It’s too soon to tell if donations are up or down at public TV stations around the country. Channel Nine Thursday received a phone call from a senior who railed against Romney for 25 minutes, because Romney says he is for education but won’t support PBS programming, which a lot of seniors adore.
The moment in the national spotlight, however, gave public TV a new chance to point out that some surveys show nearly 70 percent of Americans do not want to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, said Moss Bresnahan, president and CEO of KCTS 9.
Carlyle v. Eyman, in the ring: State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is hopping mad at initiative guru Tim Eyman for a blast email he sent Thursday that attacks the Everett Herald and its new editorial page editor, Peter Jackson, for changing course and opposing Initiative 1185, the measure that would continue to require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. Carlyle is pretty active in his opposition to Eyman measures. But the Eyman email hit a nerve because it attacked Peter directly. Peter Jackson is the son of the late Henry Scoop Jackson, whom Carlyle worked for in his younger days.
Here are some of the pyrotechnics:
From Eyman’s email:
”Today, Scoop Jackson’s son wrote: “We were wrong.” — http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121004/OPINION01/710049968/-1/opinion#
Be careful taking at face value the word “we” in that sentence because the new “we” isn’t the old “we.” I’m reasonably sure that Peter Jackson was against I-1053 also — he was simply one of the 36% who voted against it. So it seems quite likely that no one at the Everett Herald changed their minds on this issue, even though it was presented that way today.
Besides shifting their newspaper’s editorial position, they have also apparently shifted their endorsement procedures. Allen Funk and Bob Bolerjack followed a common, respectful protocol of asking both sides to come in and discuss and debate I-1053 before their editorial board so they could listen to both sides before writing their editorial. Since I-1185 qualified, I’ve repeatedly contacted Peter Jackson and asked when the editorial board would have us in to discuss I-1185 – he kept saying “we haven’t decided yet.” There was no endorsement discussion; their shift in editorial position was taken without one. Given their new position and how they handled it, it seems unlikely we could have swayed them, but we would have appreciated the chance to try.
Of course it’s now their editorial board and they can have any opinion they want without listening to both sides — it’s still a free country. But it’s quite doubtful that Scoop Jackson’s son previously supported I-1053 but now opposes I-1185. It’s more likely that one of the no voters on I-1053 simply has a louder megaphone this time.”
Carlyle was not so happy with the above:
“There comes a time when public officials have a moral responsibility to stand up for civic dialogue. Today is one of those days and this is one of those times. Tim Eyman’s unbelievable, nasty personal insult to Everett Herald Editorial page editor Peter Jackson, a treasured friend and son of one of our state’s legendary public officials in the late Scoop Jackson, went a step too far outside the dignity of Washington’s history of integrity in politics. Merely because the Everett Herald objectively reconsidered its previous support for Mr. Eyman’s supermajority initiative, a patronizing personal attack on the paper, Mr. Jackson and the memory of Senator Jackson (whom I had the honor of serving as a page for in the United States Senate) was uncalled for. We are better than this as a state and Mr. Eyman demeans us all in demeaning Sen. Jackson’s memory.”
September 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM
If you are looking to polling to predict whether four Washington ballot measures are likely to pass this November, the latest Elway Poll offers a giant question mark.
There’s nothing wrong with the polling. It’s just that three ballot measures — the tax limitation measure, gay marriage and marijuana legalization — all are hovering around 50 percent approval.
That’s typically not enough because, as pollster Stuart Elway says, measures that poll below 60 percent in the summer are likely to lose in the fall.
In the latest Elway Poll, both the tax limit measure, Initiative 1185, and Referendum 74, the same-sex marriage measure, had 51 percent approval; Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization proposal, had 50 percent. None of the current measures has ever been above 60 percent in an Elway Poll. Since 1992, Elway says, of 24 measures that polled below 60 percent in the summer, only 8 — a third — passed in November.
The charter school plan, Initiative 1240, was ahead in Elway’s latest poll, but not above 50 percent; it had 47 percent support.
Granted, the ad campaigns are just getting rolling now. And there is a lot of money coming at some of the ballot measures. The Elway Poll also carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, which means there is considerable give in the numbers.
Elway polled 405 registered voters around the state Sept. 9-12.
July 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM
A new poll by Stuart Elway suggests most of the major measures on the November ballot could be in trouble.
While the measures on same-sex marriage, tax limits, charter schools and marijuana legalization are leading in the polls, only one of them – Tim Eyman’s initiative requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes – polled over 50 percent.
“Because support typically fades as the campaign goes on, a ballot measure needs to be polling at 60 percent or better at the start of the summer to still have a majority in November,” Elway wrote.
The exception to that rule may be Eyman’s Initiative 1185, which reaffirms an existing law requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes, or voter approval, he said. Elway’s poll showed it leading with 56 percent in favor and to 30 percent opposed.
“There have been times when the tax limitation measures beat the early polls,” Elway said in an interview. “They get better at the end.”
The poll found that 49 percent of voters surveyed planned to vote yes on the gay marriage measure, Referendum 74, while 39 percent would reject it. A yes vote would approve the Legislature’s legalization of same-sex marriage.
Elway said voter confusion over whether a yes vote affirms or rejects gay marriage could be costing the measure support. When voters were asked a follow-up question to clarify if they supported gay marriage, 52 percent planned to vote in favor while 40 percent opposed it.
State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, a key leader in the push for gay rights and gay marriage in the state, said the campaign is well aware of the issue.
“The campaign knows we have a problem around clarifying that yes means yes. We also know that this is going to be close,” he said.
There will be an advertising campaign, including on television, to try to educate voters, Murray said. Washington United for Marriage, the political action committee supporting R-74, has raised about $2.3 million so far.
Elway’s poll showed I-1240, which authorizes publicly funded charter schools, led by 46 percent to 37 percent. Charter school measures have lost three times previously, in in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
I-502, which would legalize marijuana, led 46 percent to 44 percent. That’s a far different result than a SurveyUSA poll released last week that showed the measure leading 55 percent to 32 percent.
The poll surveyed 405 registered voters from July 18 through July 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
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